Thursday, December 6, 2012

Healthy Holiday Drinking

Fact: Alcohol impairs our judgment. It makes us feel uninhibited.

And it doesn't have discernment about where those effects play out. One of the top triggers for overeating is... those drinks we have before and during the meal or party.

We feel more loose and free, our natural gauges for hunger and satiety get confused, it's easy to lose track of how much we're actually eating or how our body is feeling. Another fact: alcohol numbs us.

Most of us aren't ready to swear off drinking (myself included), but here are some tips to keep your body, digestion, skin and self feeling better while you enjoy:

1. Buffer your alcoholic drinks. Follow each glass of alcohol with a glass of water. I know maybe you've heard this before, but it really works. Make it delicious: get some bubbly water and squeeze in some lime or lemon and a little cocktail mixing straw. Slice in a strawberry. No one even has to know it's non-alcoholic. Stay away from juices, you want to hydrate and replenish your body with water not sugar. Alternate alcohol - water - alcohol - water. And if you sense you don't really want another alcoholic drink, listen to you!

2. Look out for empty calorie sugary drinks and cocktails that will spike your blood sugar and throw off your body's sense of satiety/hunger, energy and your mood.

Dr. Weil recommends these healthy holiday drinks:
  1. Sparkling non-alcoholic punch. The calories can vary, but most holiday punch can easily be diluted with additional sparkling water to reduce calories and sugars. If you are making your own punch at home, use unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate.
  2. Red wine. The antioxidant activity of red wine has been linked to heart health benefits, reduced stress and even preserving memory. Limit yourself to a six-ounce glass; it typically has about 120 calories.
  3. Hot toddy. A combination of lemon, honey, cinnamon, cloves and brandy, this beverage has between 100 and 150 calories and provides some vitamin C thanks to the lemon juice.
  4. Champagne. This celebratory drink has about 90 calories in a four-ounce glass.
Try searching online for "mocktails" that use fresh fruit juice and aren't loaded with sugar - you can make them for a party with the option of adding alcohol as you or your guests would like. You might be surprised how many people would be pleased to know they can enjoy a fresh fancy drink without the added calories and effects of alcohol.

Or try my own Sparkling Chiagria recipe below! Chia helps give your body some fiber and a little dose of anti-inflammatory omega 3's to help you stay feeling balanced and satiated. Plus the fresh pomegranate and lime/lemon juice is full of healthy antioxidants and vitamin C to keep your immune system strong during this season of colds. Wins all around...

Sparkling Chiagria
sparkling or still water
splash of pomegranate juice
squeeze of fresh lime or lemon
1 tsp of chia seeds
red wine, optional

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